10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

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10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

The reality is not as obvious and simple as we like to think.

Some of the things that we accept as true and take at face value are notoriously wrong.

Scientists and philosophers have made every effort to change our common perceptions of it. The 10 examples below will show you what I mean.

1. Big Freeze.

Big Freeze is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward. The universe has a limited supply of energy. According to this theory, when that energy finally runs out, the universe will devolve into a frozen state. The thermal energy produced by the motion of the particles will gradually wear out, which means that eventually, this particle motion will slow down and, presumably, one day, everything will stop.

2. Solipsism.

Solipsism is a philosophical theory, which asserts that nothing exists but the individual’s consciousness. At first, it seems silly, but if you think about it, it really is impossible to verify anything but your own consciousness.

To check this out, take a moment to recall all the dreams that you have experienced in your life. Is it not possible that everything around you is nothing but an incredibly intricate dream? But, you may say, there are people and things around us that we cannot doubt because we can hear, see, smell, taste and feel them, right? Yes, and no. People who take LSD, for example, say that they can touch the most convincing hallucinations, but we do not claim that their visions are a “reality”. Your dreams can simulate sensations as well. After all, what you perceive is just a product of the information processing that takes place in different sections of your brain.

As a result, which parts of existence can we not doubt? Probably none. Each of us can only be sure of their own thoughts.

3. Idealism

George Berkeley, the father of Idealism, argued that everything exists as an idea in someone’s mind. Berkley discovered that some of his peers considered his theory to be stupid. The story goes that one of his opponents kicked a stone with his eyes closed and said, “I disprove it thus!”

The idea was that if the stone really only existed in his imagination, he could not have kicked it with his eyes closed. The way Berkeley refuted this is hard to understand, especially in these days. He argued that there was an omnipotent and omnipresent God who was able to see everything simultaneously.

4. Plato and the Logos.

reality illusionEverybody has heard of Plato. He is one of the world’s most famous philosophers. Like all philosophers, he had a few things to say about the nature of reality. He argued that beyond our perceived reality, there lies a world of “perfect” forms. Everything that we see is just a shade, an imitation of how things truly are. To learn more about these ideas, read about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which is a sort of the ‘Matrix‘ in its ancient version.

Plato argued that by studying philosophy, we have a chance of catching a glimpse of how things truly are and discovering the perfect forms of everything we perceive.

In addition to this stunning statement, Plato, being a monist, said that everything is made of a single substance. This means (according to him) that everything – from stars in the sky to the dust under your bed – consists of the same basic material, but in a different form. With the discovery of atoms and molecules, it has been proven true to an extent.

5. Presentism.

Time is something that we perceive as a reality. Of course, we usually divide it into the past, present and future. Presentism argues that the past and the future are imagined concepts while only the present is real.

In other words, today’s breakfast and every word of this article will cease to exist after you finish reading it until you open it to read it again. The future is just as imaginary because the time cannot exist before and after it happened, as claimed by St. Augustine.

6. Eternalism.

Eternalism is the exact opposite of presentism. This is a philosophical theory that says that time is multi-layered. All layers of the time exist simultaneously, but the measurement is determined by the observer. What they see depends on which point they are looking at.

Thus, dinosaurs, Queen Victoria and Justin Bieber all exist simultaneously but can only be observed from a specific location. If one takes this view of reality, then the future is hopeless and the deterministic free will is illusory.

7. The Brain in a Jar

The “brain in a jar” thought experiment is a question discussed by thinkers and scientists who, like most people, believe that one’s understanding of reality depends solely on their subjective feelings.

So, what is the essence of this thought experiment? Imagine that you are just a brain in a jar that is run by aliens or mad scientists. How would you know? And can you truly deny the possibility that this is your reality?

This is a modern interpretation of Descartes’ evil demon problem. This thought experiment leads to the same conclusion: we cannot confirm the actual existence of anything except our consciousness. If this seems to sound reminiscent of the movie “The Matrix“, it is only because this idea was part of the very basis of the story. Unfortunately, in reality, we have no red pills…

8. The Multiverse Theory

multiverse reality

art by Sam del Russi – samdelrussi.artistwebsites.com

Anyone who has not spent the last ten years on a desert island has heard of “the multiverse” or parallel universes at least once. As many of us have seen, parallel words, in theory, are worlds very similar to ours, with little (or in some cases, large) changes or differences. The multiverse theory speculates that there could exist an infinite number of these alternate realities.

What’s the point? In a parallel reality, you may be living in the opposite corner of the world or may have already died in a car crash. In another one, you might have never even been born because your parents never met. The probabilities are endless.

9. Fictional realism.

This is probably the most fascinating branch of the multiverse theory. Superman is real. Yes, some of you would probably choose a different story, for argument’s sake, Harry Potter might be real too. This branch of the theory argues that given an infinite number of universes, everything must exist somewhere. So, all of our favorite fiction and fantasy may be descriptive of an alternate universe, one where all the right pieces came into place to make it happen.

10. Phenomenalism.

Everyone is interested in what happens to things when we aren’t looking at them. Scientists have carefully studied this problem and some of them came to a simple conclusion – they disappear. Well, not quite like this. Phenomenalist philosophers believe that objects only exist as a phenomenon of consciousness. So, your laptop is only here while you are aware of it and believe in its existence, but when you turn away from it, it ceases to exist until you or someone else interacts with it. There is no existence without perception. This is the root of phenomenalism.

Which of these mind-blowing theories about the nature of reality appeal to you most of all? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

H/T listverse.com
art by Victoria Audouard

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Anna LeMind

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.




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394 Comments

  1. John A. Kraft May 12, 2018 at 12:04 am - Reply

    1. Big Freeze is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward Finish the sentence.
    2. I think; therefore I am.
    3. Can ideas have physical characteristics?
    4. Matter and energy are interchangeable.
    5. overlaps logical positivism
    6. This self destructs since it forbid its ever being proven.
    7. All determinisms self destruct since they forbid their being tested objectively.
    8. Physical evidence is not everything but it can’t be excluded either. This is too speculative.
    9. escapist to the extreme
    10. What is you are hit in the head in the dark by a bullet you are not aware of? Does it hurt you? Is it real? I have to deal with the whole of reality, not play games.

  2. Spencer May 13, 2018 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    The Multiverse theory has fascinated me for years and will fascinate me for the rest of my life. The mere idea that there could be a universe almost like ours yet is a little bit different makes you want to question reality. It even makes you wonder if your dreams are reality while your conscious life is a dream.

    I do believe that – because of the mere size of the universe – we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the theory. There was a time where we thought there weren’t any planets like ours – yet through research we’ve discovered numerous exoplanets that are very similar to Earth. That’s not including the billions of other exoplanets that may still be out there. We’ve also made fascinating discoveries such a stars orbiting stars, pulsars, neutron stars, and more.

    Given how much we already know about our universe – there is so much more that we don’t know. The discovery might not be made in our lifetime, but I have confidence we’ll find out that there are indeed parallel universes.

  3. John Dekker May 20, 2018 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Amazingly, we see no reference to a Godhead, as if it should be dismissed. Do we err if we dismiss it? Since the phenomenalist believes existence as a phenomenon of consciousness. Quantum physics tells us that observation has effect on reality. My problem (perceived) is my struggle with religion! Which appear to me now as having nothing to do with spirituality, but everything to do with fear and obedience,for a reward of eternal bliss in heaven. So now if I throw out the religious part, and I remain with the spirituality, accepting a Godhead, not as a bearded angry father, but as energy having intelligence how do I come to terms with creation and my existence ie., my purpose therefore my role in this mystery of “life”.
    As a person and parent what is it I am searching for? Primarily I would think “Happiness” for self and my offspring. How do I address that essentially. Things have occurred in my life that compel me to believe in something greater than myself that have guided me onto different paths not necessarily planned out by me, yet are a strong reality for me, such that denial of a Godhead seems not possible. So, do I now address my earthly purpose or do I examine why am I here? If I choose to examine my earthly purpose at happiness I have looked at what has been a passion for me such that I can recognize the enjoyment (and pain) of my efforts and acknowledge a form of success and failures as a human being amongst my fellow man, this has virtually nothing to do with a God and mostly with pleasure, not happiness. If I choose to examine why I am here, I find myself standing in awe, of something so powerful that I,we, are not be capable to comprehending. So I look at my presence here as a gift, which if we are really a spiritual phenomena, would not get to understand the amazing beauty of our physical senses. In that form are we here to learn? Since most of our journey consists of learning. Certainly as I walk with my dog in the park or woods or water near by I pray in cheer joy of having been given this gift of life and stand in awe of its beauty, power and perfection, yet also its flaws which make me question its perfection. Yet I am reminded that how do we know joy without having seen anguish. For the time being I take comfort in my passion for my effort at business, providing a source of income for myself , and others, being a dreamer of possibilities, and a fighter to accomplish my dreams. All of which might not be possible except for the blessing of health, given to me by God? Amen! As for religion? Too many borders, man made, and self serving, to its own survival as an organization each having claims to a corner on the salvation market. Yet they may be right in their essential form, “love”, not dogma. Yet why fret over what might be if the day is sweet.

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